The Mixed Multitude

And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians. And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle. Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. - Exodus 12:30-39 & 40

Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them. And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers. And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God. - Nehemiah 9:1-3

Now it came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude. - Nehemiah 13:3

In the above passages, we have the account of the Children of Israel leaving Egyptian captivity after 430 years! This was, no doubt, a time of great celebration and rejoicing. It was also the beginning of a time of tragedy, because the Israelites allowed a 'mixed multitude' to come out with them.

We can certainly understand why the mixed multitude would want to leave Egypt and accompany the Children of Israel. They were, no doubt, lower class individuals who had also been forced laborers. Then, too, they had seen the great wonders performed by the God of the Israelites and saw how He had allowed His people to 'spoil' the Egyptians of Jewels of gold and silver, and of expensive clothing.

This mixed multitude would be glad to escape their taskmasters and join this celebrating throng with their new found wealth! Unfortunately, the Children of Israel allowed individuals who had no love for God, nor understanding of God to accompany them. Those who had not applied the blood of the passover to the doors of their homes, nor eaten of the passover meal. These were idolators and strangers to the ways of God. In other words, they were the equivalent of those we would define as lost!

It is not long before the influence of this mixed multitude is evidenced in the lives of God's people. They may well have been the instigators of the murmuring against God and Moses and who gave the design for the golden calf when Moses lingered on Mount Sinai. These were likely the ones who spoke the loudest in favor of returning to Egypt. We know that the Israelites were treated the worst under Pharaoh, because he was afraid they would increase in number above his own people. Life for the mixed multitude may not have been all that bad in Egypt!

In the book of Nehemiah, in response to a renewal of the preaching of the law of God, that the Children of Israel repent and put away their strange wives, and separate themselves from the strangers and the mixed multitude. But it is many years later, and after much damage has been caused by allowing these individuals to dwell among them.

In our churches today, we have much the same situation existing, in that we have allowed a host of individuals who do not love God, and who have not experienced genuine conversion to dwell among us. ...we have allowed a host of individuals who do not love God, and who have not experienced genuine conversion to dwell among us. Because the churches of our day are not experiencing persecution and are actually appearing to flourish, it is quite fashionable for individuals to want to be a part of what is taking place. In fact, churches are making it more desirable for folks to want to be a part by offering activities and conveniences which mirror what the world is offering.

Churches have replaced old fashioned gospel preaching with things that appeal to the flesh. Politically correct sermons have replaced messages from God. Churches have hired preachers who will 'prophesy smooth things.' instead of seeking a true God-sent man. Preachers have succumbed to the 'lure of the dollar' over the call of God. The clock governs the service rather than the Spirit of God. Repetition of choruses has replaced the hymns of old. 'Christian psychology,' which is actually the psychology of the world with some Bible terms attached, has allowed pride to flourish in the very house of God under the guise of 'self-esteem!'

The above are but a handful of the awful consequences associated with allowing the mixed multitude to dwell among the saints of God; of allowing unregenerate people to populate the pews. To correct the problem in our churches today will be very costly indeed... In the Old Testament, the situation was only addressed when the law of God was once again placed in high regard, and the cost of ridding the nation of the mixed multitude was very costly. Families were torn apart as men, women, and children were divided. Some would say that this was a terrible thing to endure, but to continue in it would have been worse. This was a tragedy to those who lived at the time of correction, but to allow the situation to go on, would be to condemn more and more families to a life without God's blessing. The circumstances which allowed it to come to pass should never have been accepted in the beginning.

To correct the problem in our churches today will be very costly indeed, as it will divide families just as in Old Testament times. Individuals who do not love God will leave, and membership roles will dwindle. As a result, most churches will not pay the price necessary to remedy what is wrong. But those churches who truly love God, and who want His blessings and His power, will do whatever is necessary to restore the ways of God and purify the churches for God's glory.

It is time to confess our sins and the iniquities of our fathers, and return to the law of the LORD and worship Him. Only then will we experience the full blessings God has for His people. - JMG

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